Using NewTek NDI® Studio Monitor
November 13, 2017 by Chuck Baker
Many productions have more crew members who need to see what’s going on than they have monitors available for the purpose. There also may be location restrictions and specific needs of one or more crew members. NewTek’s NDI® IP video production technology can help reduce or eliminate that bottleneck for many situations. In a fully NDI-enabled production suite, any networked PC can be used to monitor any available NDI source on the network. This means that with NewTek’s NDI Studio Monitor application, any computer system involved in production can also be repurposed to provide the operator a multiview monitor of as many sources as they need to see.
NewTek NDI Studio Monitor takes capabilities beyond monitoring now, however. Many NDI devices are designed for remote control via NDI in addition to providing video, audio or both. NDI Studio Monitor will autodetect those devices and can supply controls on the viewport to operate those devices.
For this tutorial, we will step through installing and using NDI Studio Monitor on a Windows PC.
NDI Studio Monitor is part of the free NewTek NDI Tools Pack. To download:
You will need to register for the download.
The file you download is an installer, ‘NewTek NDI Tools.exe’. Run the installer and follow the onscreen instructions to install the NDI Tools to your chosen system. Once installation is complete, if you are on a network where there are already NDI video sources available, you are ready to go.
If there are not NDI sources already on your network, then you may wish to run one or more of the applications in the Tools pack to provide some.
If you have access to more than one system, it can be useful to install the NDI Tools Pack on one or more other systems to provide network sources for NDI Studio Monitor.
Once you have NDI sources available on the network, on your Windows Start Menu locate NewTek NDI Tools on the applications list (for older versions of Windows, you may need to click on All Apps on the Start menu). Click the arrow by NewTek NDI Tools to dropdown the full list of NDI Tools. Select NDI Studio Monitor.
This will open an application window on the desktop. When you mouse over the window, two control icons become visible at top on either side of the window. On the left side is the icon to open the Video Source and Settings menu, and on the right the control toggle for Full-Screen.
You can either click on the left side icon or just Right-Click on the application window to see the list of available NDI sources on the network. For this example, we will select a test pattern signal that is being sent out over the network by NewTek NDI Test Patterns.
The selected NDI source will now display on NDI Studio Monitor. The video is both high-quality and very low latency, but also optimized for minimal impact on system resources, so the desktop can continue to be utilized for any job the user is involved in, for example, graphics production, feeding stats to the CG, etc.
When using NewTek NDI Studio Monitor to view NDI sources, you have a number of options available in the Source > Settings menu. These are detailed below:
- Low Bandwidth – Toggles Low Bandwidth mode to aid network traffic
- Mute Audio – Mutes audio output from the application on the local system (only)
- VU Meter – Toggles display of the VU bars overlay
- VU Meter Scale – Toggles display of the VU Scale values overlay
- Checkerboard – Shows a checkerboard for video sources with an embedded alpha (transparency) channel
- Tally – Shows whether a source is being utilized on output of any other systems supporting NDI tally signaling
- Center Cross – Toggles display of Center Cross overlay
- Safe Areas – Toggles display of Safe Areas overlay
- 4:3 Aspect Ratio – Toggles display of 4:3 Aspect Ratio overlay
- Square Aspect Ratio – Toggles display of Square Aspect Ratio overlay
- Full-Screen – Toggles between Full-Screen and windowed mode
- Hide Window Border – Toggles the display of the border and top bar of the window
- PTZ Joystick – Selects from available controllers for PTZ camera operation
- Hide PTZ Controls – Toggles display of the PTZ controls in the window
- Allow HW Acceleration – Toggles graphics hardware acceleration if available
You can launch as many instances of NewTek NDI Studio Monitor as you wish to create a multi-monitor setup to view NDI sources. Above, four instances have been launched, each displaying a different NDI source. When you quit each monitor, its configuration, window size and position is stored.
When you launch the NDI Studio Monitor app again, successive instances you run will load the corresponding configuration files in order. These configuration files can be found in the following location on your hard drive:
If a connected NDI video source supports recording and remote control (as, for example, NewTek’s NC1 Studio Input/Output Module does), NewTek NDI Studio Monitor displays a red record icon in the lower left corner. Clicking this icon instructs the source device to initiate recording, and shows a timecode display to indicate the duration of the current recording.
If the NDI video source also supports web configuration (e.g. NDI Connect Spark™) a configuration button (gear) is also shown. Clicking this button opens a web browser to the corresponding configuration page, allowing you to modify source settings.
As you can see, NewTek NDI Studio Monitor can make any PC a production pipeline asset for both monitoring and control. This is just one example of the strength and flexibility that the IP workflow NewTek NDI creates brings to production.
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